2/15/2014: Sal Al at the Luthier’s Co-op, Easthampton, MA

Ryan at the Luthier's Co-op

Ryan at the Luthier’s Co-op last year

Have you been to the Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton, MA?  For years, it has been buying, selling, and repairing musical instruments and amplifiers, but they recently acquired a liquor license and started hosting free shows in their showroom.  If you have been there, you know it’s a great place to see a band, and if you haven’t been there, you should plan to go on February 15.  We were invited to join Rocky Roberts and the Lonesome River Trio, and Terry Flood that night.

We’re looking forward to heading back to the Luthier’s Co-op, and we hope to see you there for this free show.  If you think you might want to head into Easthampton a little early, we have some suggestions for you: stop by our after-practice hangout, Riff’s Joint, in Eastworks, 116 Pleasant St. for a “Veggie McLovin’ Burger” for lunch, enjoy the Emily Williston Public Library, for dinner grab a slice at Antonio’s Pizza downtown, and then join us down the road at the Luthier’s Co-op at 7PM for when Terry Flood begins the show.

Steel Guitar Buffer/Volume Pedal

Quinn Labs Pedal

Goodrich 120-VE Volume Pedal, modified at Quinn Labs

Back when Leo Fender was making his first amplifiers, he set the input impedance of jack one at 1 Megaohm (1M), a design that did not change through the tweed, blonde, brownface, blackface, or silverface eras of Fender amps.  Fender guitars, being made for Fender amps, sound good when they are plugged directly into devices with 1M of input impedance.

That created a small problem for Andy and I as we were working on the band’s 1958(ish) Fender 1000 pedal steel guitar.  The guitar, which we have documented previously, has its original 8-string Jazzmaster-style pickup.  When Fender designed that pickup, it was intended to be paired up with their new tweed Bassman and Twin models – both sporting 1M input impedance.  Andy’s pedal steel rig was not loading the steel guitar’s pickup correctly, leading to some unwanted dullness as he backed off the volume, and a distorted sizzling sound when he plugged into our Leslie speaker directly.  Andy’s Goodrich volume pedal used a 500 Kiloohm (500K) potentiometer (pot), so the pickup was seeing 500K or less impedance, depending on where his volume pedal was set.

Continue reading